A 22-year-old woman who’s stuck in the body of an 8-year-old girl for the rest of her life has shared the struggles her condition has brought her. Shauna Rae developed a rare form of brain cancer when she was only six months old and had to take chemotherapy, which stunted her growth. Now grown up, she’s only 3 feet, 11 inches tall — the average height of a second-grader.
Shauna shared her story in a new TLC documentary. “I Am Shauna Rae” followed the woman through various aspects of her daily life, showing how her eternally youthful appearance complicates her life since everyone believes she’s a child.
To look at her, you really would think she’s a kid. Shauna realizes that people’s reactions to her are normal, but that doesn’t make them any easier. “If you were to look at me, you would think I’m just a normal little girl, doing normal little girl things with my fun, crazy family,” she said in the trailer for her documentary. “But the truth is I’m not a little girl. I’m a woman, a 22-year-old woman stuck in the body of an 8-year-old.”
It has to be tough. In the show, which will premiere on January 11, Shauna can be seen being turned away from bars, questioned about her age when she tries to get a tattoo, and even nearly turned away when trying to get a new gym membership.
Her dating life has to be the worst part. As a normal 22-year-old woman, Shauna would love a little romance in her life. The problem with that is that most of the men who are interested in her are total creeps. “I attract creeps, a**holes, and idiots. It is scary to put myself out there, but you have to put some risk in to get happiness,” she said.
Shauna’s parents even struggle with letting their little girl go. Shauna’s mother Patty appears in the documentary and admits that the devastation of Shauna being so ill as a baby has had an effect on how protective she is over her daughter now. “I feel, I guess almost guilty, that she will have to go through this for the rest of her life, so all I can do is protect her,” Patty said. However, she added: “I don’t know if I am ready to let her go, but she needs to be let go.”